Re: Meta Tag - proposal (suggestions ???)

Albert Lunde (
Thu, 16 Nov 1995 13:16:54 -0600 (CST)

> Robert Hazeltine <> wrote:
> > [ Re: using Dewey Decimal system to classify Web pages ]
> >
> > This suggestion is a bit off the mark, for a number of reasons. I work
> > in a library and appreciate that what you propose, Jon would solve a lot
> > of problems. Attempts in the past to get some agreement of what
> > should be used for indexing and searching have not been very successful,
> > mainly I suspect because the requirement has been vague and unwieldy and
> > tried to encompass too much.
> >
> > There is a group of librarians in the US somewhere (I can't recall off hand)
> > who have put together a list of meta data called the _Dublin Core_. It's
> > just too complicated for ordinary, non librarians to handle, and even
> > they need a reality check as they seem to want to re-invent marc.
> >
> > On the other hand I do not think it too much for a HTML author to
> > identify and index/keyword his/her document - pretty much the same as
> > printed material. Keep it simple so that authors who only need to learn
> > simple HTML can management to have their documents located more easily on
> > the WWW.
> Here's a thought: how about using the Usenet newsgroup hierarchy
> as a classification scheme? I.e., "if this Web page were a Usenet
> article, in which newsgroup(s) would it belong?"
> The Usenet hierarchy is fairly well-organized, and likely to be more
> familiar to the average Web author/user than the Dewey system would be.

I think the IETF groups should be conservative about about trying to
"standardize" classification schemes that are beyond our expertise.
This is an area for library science.

I'm also a little skeptical of trying to specific all possible
uses of META. Part of the point of META is to allow an escape hatch
for arbitrary site specific goop.

The merit of writing a spec is to avoid reinventing the wheel, so that
we can safely assume that most sites that, say, use content keywords
will put them under the same label. (But we are unlikely to get
all sites to use the same keyword vocabulary.)

USENET group names are a poor hierarchy for general knowledge, since
they are full of historical accidents. There's no reason the importance
of a subdivisions of a topic should be related to newsgroup volume,
for example. The profile of the average web user is changing
rapidly, so we shouldn't assume that USENET reading is linked to
web usage.

By comparison, I'd be more inclined to favor something like library
of congress subject headings, perhaps with a label of their own.
But I'm *not* an expert in library science or search engines,
and I'm not sure there is a one-size-fits all answer.

    Albert Lunde